Whole wheat flour is such a blessing in this era of all-purpose flour and bread flour. Whether you are looking for a deeper flavor or enhanced nutritional profile, whole wheat flour is an ideal option.
If it features so many benefits, why not introduce it to your sourdough baking. It will surely increase the nutrition and flavor of your sourdough bread. The savor of wheat flour is due to its various flavors, including sweet, nutty, grassy, and slightly bitter taste.
The mere thought of its lavish taste has watered my mouth. If you want to taste this palatable recipe, get ready. In this write-up, I will be describing the recipe for whole wheat sourdough bread.
What are we going to make?
This recipe is ideal for those sourdough bread lovers who love the taste of wheat but hate its heaviness. The bread that we are making today is made with 20% whole wheat flour. It gives a mild nutty flavor with a light texture.
Though this 20% whole wheat is the perfect startup for your whole wheat sourdough bread, you can also use 30% whole wheat. The latter option is for those people who want to enjoy a heartier loaf.
Peculiarities of the Recipe
- Preparation time – 6 hours
- Cooking time – 45 minutes
- Dormant time – 20 hours
- Total time – 26 hours and 45 minutes
- Yield – one loaf
You will need the following tools for this recipe. Make sure they are easily accessible to you when you start with your recipe.
- A large bowl
- A small bowl
- A fork/ spatula for mixing
- A towel
- Parchment paper
- Oven thermometer
- Cotton/ linen cloth
- Bench knife
- Sourdough starter – 50 grams
- Water – 350-375 grams
- Bread flour – 400 grams
- Whole wheat flour – 100 grams
- Salt – 9 grams
Always use a scale to measure the ingredients. Measuring cups aren’t that accurate. Here are some directions for the components of your recipe.
The water should be slightly warm. The temperature of the water should be around 80 – 85.
Different brands offer a distinct type of flour. It might be possible that the brand you are using might not absorb all the water.
Usually, low protein bread flour absorbs less water. So you can start with 350 grams of water and add more if needed.
To provide you with a better insight into the ingredients, I am mentioning the percentage of each of them. It might be helpful for some bakers.
- Sourdough Starter – 20%
- Water – 80%
- Bread flour – 80%
- Whole wheat flour – 20%
- Salt – 2%
Timeline of the Recipe
- Start with mixing
- After 1 hour – First stretch and fold
- After half an hour – Second stretch and fold
- Next half an hour – Third stretch and fold
- After half an hour – Fourth stretch and fold
- After another half an hour – Bulk rise
- Next 2-3 hours – Cover and chill (If possible, leave it overnight)
- After almost 12 hours – Shape and bake
Instructions for the Recipe
Before starting the recipe, schedule your events. It is necessary because this recipe demands time and attention. Leaving it unattended might have adverse effects.
An ideal choice is to start with it in the afternoon. It will allow you to maintain the stretching schedule. And you can also leave it overnight for chilling. Though preferred, it is not mandatory. You can begin anytime based on your convenience.
Mixing the Ingredients
First of all, make the dough by mixing all the ingredients. Take sourdough starter and water in a large bowl. Now add salt and flour to it. Mix them with a spatula or fork. Make sure they are properly mixed. You can also use your hands to combine the ingredients.
Immediately after mixing, it would be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with a towel. Rest it for at least one hour at room temperature. During this hour, check this dough once and make a rough ball of it.
Stretch and Folds
The first fold needs to be done as soon as one hour has passed.
Take a sizable portion of the dough. Stretch it upward and then fold it eventually, accumulating it in the center of the bowl. Turn a bowl through a quarter and repeat the process. Continue the process until one circle is completed. You have to do it four times to complete a circle.
Though one round of stretch and fold makes it better, you can do another round of 4 folds if it still feels sluggish.
Rest it for half an hour and repeat the process. You have to do four stretch-and-fold sessions with a duration of half an hour among each of them.
In that resting duration of 30 minutes, keep the dough in a warm spot. As a warm spot, you can use a proofing box or a preheated oven.
(To use the latter option, preheat your oven for a half minute and shut it off. You can keep the bowl of dough in the oven. But make sure the temperature is not more than 80°F. You can track temperature with an oven thermometer.)
After you have completed all the rounds of stretches and folds, it is time for the bulk rise. Now, cover the bowl and leave it untouched for 2-3 hours. The temperature should be 75-78°F.
When the size of the dough is doubled, it is ready for the next step. Now leave it in the fridge overnight/for almost 12 hours. Do not worry if the dough’s size is the same before and after refrigerating it. It would not grow in size once its temperature decreases.
Shape the Dough
The following morning/after 12 hours, take the dough out of the fridge. Before starting the process of shaping, make sure the bulk rise has doubled the size of the dough. If not, leave it for some time. Bulk-up of the dough is necessary for its strength.
Take a small bowl. Line it with a cotton/linen cloth; sprinkle the lining with flour.
Now, sprinkle flour on a flat surface. Take the cold dough out of the bowl with wet hands. Leave it on the floured surface for almost 10 minutes. It maintains the temperature of the dough.
Shape this dough into a rough ball. Use the same stretch and fold method as you used before. Use this method on the top, bottom left, and right sides of the dough, moving toward the center.
Now flip the dough with the help of a bench knife. Flip it in such a way that the smooth side is facing up. Cover it with a towel and let it rest for almost half an hour.
Now for the final shape, flip the dough over again. Repeat the process of stretching and folding from all sides and flip it again. You can skip this step if your dough has not spread much.
Now sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Do not use too much flour here. In this step, you have to tighten the shape of the dough. For this purpose, cup the dough with your floured hands and gently pull it towards you in a circular motion.
Now take it off the floured surface and put it in the small bowl, the one that you have already prepared. Make sure the seam side is facing upwards. Cover it with a cloth.
After shaping, your dough might need a second rise. Leave it for half an hour or one hour on a warm spot similar to those you have used before.
Your dough is ready as soon as it shows a slight increase in size. You can also judge its readiness by its puffy look. Do not wait for its size to get doubled.
During the second rise, prepare yourself for baking. First of all, preheat the oven to 450°F. Take your baking pot and take a sheet of parchment paper. While cutting parchment paper, cut some extra for the sides. They will help you in removing the bread.
Cover the bowl of dough with parchment paper and invert the bowl to take it out. Sprinkle some flour over the dough evenly. You can rub it with your hands.
Take a razor blade and make cuts in the dough. Make four cuts, each having a length of 4 inches. Make cuts at a difference of quarter area. In other words, you need to make cuts at the angle of 45°. You can also use a knife instead of a razor blade.
Now lift it with the help of parchment paper and place it in the baking pot.
Cover the baking pot and bake it for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake it for another 40 minutes. Your whole wheat sourdough bread is ready as soon as it turns golden brown.
Take it out of the oven and place it on a wire rack. For a better experience, let it cool down before slicing. Wait for at least one hour.
Tips for the Recipe
The above instructions are enough to guide you through the recipe. However, here are some quick tips that will help you ace it.
- Do not overheat the dough during its dormant period in the warm spot. If the dough becomes too warm, it becomes wet and sticky. Consequently, it becomes difficult to handle it.
- For your convenience, while scoring the dough, you can compare it with a clock. And you have to cut at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.
- Do not pour 375 grams of water at once. Instead, start with 350 grams. You can add more if needed.
- To prevent burning the bread from the bottom, you can place a cookie sheet on the rack below the baking pot.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use whole wheat flour to make sourdough bread?
Yes, you can use whole wheat flour to make sourdough bread. It provides you with one of the delicious sourdough breads.
How does whole wheat flour affect sourdough?
By using whole wheat flour in your sourdough, you will make your sourdough denser. Its texture would become heavy, and you will enjoy a complex flavor profile.
What percentage of whole wheat flour can be used in whole wheat sourdough bread?
I have used 20% whole wheat in this recipe. However, if you are fond of a heavy texture, you can also use 30% whole wheat flour.
Whole wheat sourdough bread is an easy recipe. Made with 20% whole wheat, it is light and flavorful. You can make the dough and refrigerate it to bake it the next day.
You can use this palatable bread to make sandwiches and morning toasts. It will serve as your ultimate breakfast partner.
I hope you liked the recipe. Happy cooking!